- There's a fine line where an injured ballplayer's will to play abuts his ability to work on, say, a bad set of wheels. Chris Kaman straddled that line tonight and we'll never know if (a) a healthy Kaman would've made the difference (b) a platoon of Waltah McCarty and Zeke Rebraca could've mitigated the disaster on the offensive boards that we anticipated going into the game. Kaman had 4 turnovers, went 1-6 from the field and couldn't box out to save his life. In the third quarter, he actually fouled Earl Boykins on the perimeter while Denver was in the bonus in a one point game.
- Another byproduct of Kaman's injury and ineffectualness was Dunleavy's decision to go small, essentially playing Elton as his big man. This allowed Karl to put Camby on Brand - a tremendous size advantage for Denver and an impossible situation for Brand. When Najera wasn't running under screens and annoying EB for much of the first half, Camby was abusing him in the second half with Kaman on the bench. Brand recorded three turnovers, went 6-15, got to the line for only three pairs of free throws, and was abused on the glass (especially when you consider that Kaman was a non-factor) - all in all, a lousy night by his standards,
- The rebounding fiasco is baffling. Only Miami and Jersey did a better job than the Clippers on the defensive glass in the regular season. And Denver was middle-of-the-pack on the offensive boards this season. This prompts the question: How has Denver built a +21 advantage in this category? Denver plays a midget at the 2; their center, by and large, plays away from the basket; they have a PF in Elson who has only one of Denver's 2,359 offensive rebounds in the series. Martin is out. My wild theory is that Dunleavy's penchant for having his bigs employ the trap keeps them out on the perimeter - enough that guys like Najera can squirt through the paint and crash the boards. Then again, Dunleavy has been doing this all season. So...Ma Nishtanah?
Anyone have a better guess? Because I'm at a complete loss apart from that.
- On that same note, it's really, really, really difficult to win a basketball game in which the other team gets off 10 more FGA and 15 more FTA than your team. Think about it for a second. Let's be conservative and say that, in those additional attempts, the opponent will shot 30% from the field and only 60% from the line. Well, that's 15 extra points. If that's the case, you better be lighting it up from downtown or hitting at a serious clip from the field.
- Dunleavy's decision to put Ross on the ball when he reentered the game in the second quarter seemed to work. Once again, ‘Melo was held in check by a variety of defensive looks - and the Clippers exposed his inability to pass out of the double team with some vicious traps. When Ross defended ‘Melo straight up, he was able to stay in front him. And a good number of ‘Melo's trips to the line were non-shooting fouls in the penalty. This was the highlight in what was another stellar defensive effort by the Clippers - a game in which they held Denver to 37.8% shooting, Carmelo to six field goals and limited Miller's penetration.
No Nugget shot over 50% from the field. Not one.
- NBA lifer Dick Bavetta is a favorite of mine, but I was hoping to watch some basketball tonight, weren't you? 68 fouls? That's one every 42 seconds. And Francisco Elson is the first guy I ever recall fouling out in the third quarter. Ralph and Mike maintained that a closely called game favored the Clippers, but I'm not so sure. I'm more than happy to see the Clippers get into a shooting contest with Denver from the field.
What will Kaman's status be for Saturday? Is it safe to say that there's enough evidence at this point to suggest that the current rotation will continue to cough up a ton of extra shots to the Nugs? Can the Clips create some space for Elton to work, especially if Kaman is out and Karl sticks Camby on him again?